J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Monday, December 02, 2013


Dialectic my Drum (日本人は「日と」)

Dialectic my Drum 
Mr. Ishiba, a Japanese politician, wrote on his blog that all the shouting by demonstrators against the new official secrets act was similar to terrorism. While he has come under widespread criticism, I thought that he had a point at least in so far as sound is sometimes used to strike terror into people, such as is claimed to be the caused by some "sound trucks", that blare out military tunes. My Japanese wife pointed out, on the other hand, sometimes the Japanese like things that are loud just because they are loud.

Taiko for example, are some of the biggest drums in the world, played in groups with the most gusto of any traditional instrument and are so loud that they seemed to be drumming inside my head. The fireworks that signal the start of Japanese festivals likewise are just plain loud. Likewise the shouts of Japanese cheer leaders who bend over backwards to get as much sound  as possible out of their throats. The shouts of people carrying festival palanquin floats (お神輿) and those of Japanese baseball players in training, or during their matches too, are not designed to convey any meaning.

All these loud noises are appreciated because they are loud and they are loud, so as to obliterate the logos, that impurity or "auto-affection" in the mind, so that the mind is left, like the face of the drum, on fire, a mirror, a circle of light.

Some (e.g. Hamamura, Heine, & Paulhus, 2008) claim that Japanese are tolerant of contradictory beliefs because they are "dialectical." I don't think that this is an apt description. Boom. There are no dialectics going on here! Boom!  This man's mind burns like the sun! Boom, boom, boom!

Image: An amalgam of Taiko by John Nakamura Remy and Taiko by Takashi Toyooka. Thanks to the former for the "mind on fire" also.

The "Hito" "日と" with the sun, pun belongs to Kurozumi Munetada the founder of the Kurozumi Sect of Shinto.
Hamamura, T., Heine, S. J., & Paulhus, D. L. (2008). Cultural differences in response styles: The role of dialectical thinking. Personality and Individual Differences, 44(4), 932–942.

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.